The inability to define effective leadership based solely on traits led to an interest in look- ing at the behavior of leaders and how it might contribute to leadership success or failure. Perhaps any leader can adopt the correct behavior with appropriate training. Two basic leadership behaviors identified as important for leadership are task-oriented behavior and people-oriented behavior. These two metacategories, or broadly defined behavior categories, were found to be applicable to effective leadership in a variety of situations and time periods.17 Although they are not the only important leadership behaviors, concern for tasks and concern for people must be shown at some reasonable level. Thus, many approaches to understanding leadership use these metacategories as a basis for study and comparison. Important research programs on leadership behavior were conducted at Ohio State University, University of Michigan, and University of Texas.
1. OHIO STATE STUDIES
Researchers at Ohio State University surveyed leaders to study hundreds of dimensions of leader behavior.18 They identified two major behaviors, called consideration and initiating structure.
Consideration falls in the category of people-oriented behavior and is the extent to which the leader is mindful of subordinates, respects their ideas and feelings, and estab- lishes mutual trust. Considerate leaders are friendly, provide open communication, develop teamwork, and are oriented toward their subordinates’ welfare.
Initiating structure is the degree of task behavior, that is, the extent to which the leader is task oriented and directs subordinate work activities toward goal attainment. Leaders with this style typically give instructions, spend time planning, emphasize dead- lines, and provide explicit schedules of work activities.
Consideration and initiating structure are independent of each other, which means that a leader with a high degree of consideration may be either high or low on initiating structure. A leader may have any of four styles: high initiating structure–low consider- ation, high initiating structure–high consideration, low initiating structure–low consid- eration, or low initiating structure–high consideration. The Ohio State research found that the high consideration–high initiating structure style achieved better performance and greater satisfaction than the other leader styles. The value of the high–high style is illustrated by Brigadier General Michael P. Mulqueen, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps to head up the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Mulqueen runs the depository like a business rather than a typical nonprofit. He stresses efficiency and is as demanding as any corporate CEO in organizing and directing people toward achieving the organi- zation’s goals. Yet Mulqueen knows that leaders don’t get people to rally around them simply by issuing orders. He’s never intimidating, and he’s always willing to listen to other people’s ideas, allow people autonomy in how they accomplish goals, and show appreciation and respect. Mulqueen’s high consideration–high initiating structure leadership approach has turned the Greater Chicago Food Depository into one of the nation’s most effective hunger-relief agencies.19 Successful pro football coaches also often use a high–high style.20 For example, coaches have to keep players focused on winning football games by scheduling structured practices, emphasizing careful planning, and so forth. However, the best coaches are those who genuinely care about and show concern for their players. At the top of this page is a profile of Bob Ladouceur, the coach of an extraordinary high school football team, who personifies the high–high leadership style.
Some research, however, indicates that the high–high style is not necessarily the best. These studies suggest that effective leaders may be high on consideration and low on initiating struc- ture or low on consideration and high on initiating structure, depending on the situation.21
2. MICHIGAN STUDIES
Studies at the University of Michigan at about the same time took a different approach by comparing the behavior of effective and ineffective supervisors.22 The most effective super- visors were those who focused on the subordinates’ human needs to “build effective work groups with high performance goals.” The Michigan researchers used the term employee- centered leaders for leaders who established high performance goals and displayed support- ive behavior toward subordinates. The less-effective leaders were called job-centered leaders; these leaders tended to be less concerned with goal achievement and human needs in favor of meeting schedules, keeping costs low, and achieving production efficiency.
3. THE LEADERSHIP GRID
Building on the work of the Ohio State and Michigan studies, Blake and Mouton of the University of Texas proposed a two-dimensional leadership theory called the leadership grid.23 The two-dimensional model and five of its seven major management styles are depicted in Exhibit 11.4. Each axis on the grid is a nine-point scale, with 1 mean- ing low concern and 9 high concern.
Team management (9,9) often is considered the most effective style and is recommended for managers because organization members work together to accomplish tasks. Country club management (1,9) occurs when primary emphasis is given to people rather than to work outputs. Authority-compliance management (9,1) occurs when efficiency in operations is the dominant orientation. Middle-of-the-road management (5,5) reflects a moderate amount of concern for both people and production. Impoverished management (1,1) means the absence of a management philosophy; managers exert little effort toward interpersonal relation- ships or work accomplishment.
The next group of theories builds on the leader–follower relationship of behavioral approaches to explore how organizational situations affect the leader’s approach.
Source: Daft Richard L., Marcic Dorothy (2009), Understanding Management, South-Western College Pub; 8th edition.